Trump really shouldn't be bragging about all the jobs he thinks he's created when he's forcing thousands of employees to work without getting paid.
Trump shut down the government nearly a month ago, and he's forcing tens of thousands of workers to do their jobs without pay, but he's still demanding credit for his bang-up job in the Oval Office.
"Last year was the best year for American Manufacturing job growth since 1997, or 21 years," he tweeted Monday morning. "The previous administration said manufacturing will not come back to the U.S., 'you would need a magic wand.' I guess I found the MAGIC WAND - and it is only getting better!"
It's a bizarrely timed claim to make, given that he shut down the government a month ago, depriving 800,000 federal workers of their paychecks. Last week, his administration announced it is forcing thousands of employees to return to work — but they still won't be getting paid.
Jobs don't mean much if they don't come with pay.
While Trump boasts about supposed job growth, experts are increasingly anxious about the longterm consequences and cost of his shutdown, and starting to whisper the word "recession."
"Across Wall Street, analysts are rushing out warnings that missed federal paychecks, dormant government contractors and shelved corporate stock offerings could push first-quarter growth close to or even below zero if the shutdown," Politico reports.
And experts were already worried, even before Trump shut down the government. The Republican tax bill, rammed through Congress at the end of 2017, has failed to deliver the economic boom Trump and his party swore it would. Trump's extended trade war isn't helping either.
Meanwhile, the White House itself is admitting that it did not properly anticipate the effect of Trump's shutdown, which could be far more expensive and damaging to the economy than Trump's advisers originally thought.
None of this is phasing Trump, however. On Sunday, he tweeted his thanks "to all of the great people who are working so hard for your Country and not getting paid" — as if they have any say in the matter.
He has repeatedly claimed, without any evidence at all, that those hundreds of thousands of workers are happy to go without paychecks in order to ensure that he gets funding for his wall.
"So this really does have a higher purpose than next week’s pay," Trump told reporters earlier this month. "And the people that won't get next week's pay, or the following week's pay — I think if you ever really looked at those people, I think they'd say, Mr. President, keep going. This is far more important."
None of that is true, of course. Federal workers — along with the rest of America — have made their objection to Trump's shutdown perfectly clear. Polling shows the majority of the country wants Trump to reopen the government immediately and is not interested in giving him $5 billion to build a wall.
TSA reports a rise in absences because those workers who have been deemed "essential" and are required to show up to work even without getting paid are refusing to do so. Many workers are relying on donations and food banks to support their families while Trump holds their paychecks hostage.
And none of them are expressing gratitude to Trump for putting them in this position.
But to Trump, none of that matters. Instead, he's stealing a snarky headline from the far-right website Twitchy to boast of his imaginary "magic wand," while ignoring all the very real damage he's actually doing.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.